National Juried Exhibition brings surprises to Oxford gallery10/22/2019 08:56AM ● By J. Chambless
‘Studio 922’ by Kelly Micca.
The National Juried Exhibition always brings some surprises to the Oxford Arts Alliance, and the fifth annual show delivers a welcome mix of the dazzling and the puzzling. The show opened on Oct. 18 and continues through Nov. 8, bringing works by artists from across the country to our area.
There are some outstanding high points, including Kelly Micca’s large painting, “Studio 922,” which captures a woman – possibly the artist herself – seated at a table, gazing to the right of the frame, with painting supplies before her. She has an unguarded, contemplative and perhaps slightly peeved expression that invites your interpretation.
Equally riveting is the nude “Prostitute,” by Daniel Hustwit. The figure, reclining on a bed in slanting light, meets the viewer’s gaze with frankness, a half-smile and a weariness in her eyes. It’s sad, seductive and brutally honest.
“The Night Visitors,” by Lauren Litwa, is a typically enigmatic composition that tells a mysterious story. Otherworldly beams of light from the sky play over the yard surrounding a farmhouse as a fox darts away in the foreground. The tiny house in the distance – in flames – brings home the menace posed by the unseen source of the beams.
“Yearbook,” by L. Iveit, is a fascinating page of manipulated photos, each face superimposed with some odd element, stitched or cut or tinted, and all of them underlaid by unreadable script. It’s wonderfully odd.
Speaking of enigmatic, “Map of Departure,” by Lynda Schmid, has a horse, a hand appearing out of torn paper, and a brown stain that gives the piece the look of a half-remembered dream. There’s also “Waking,” a terrific nude done in chalk by Jason Weaver; and a richly painted oil, “Solitude,” by Joseph Bellofatto, that looks like an icon with a modern twist.
Robert Jenkins goes large with “Boiler,” a watercolor of a massive piece of machinery, mottled with brown rust on the blue-black iron surface. There’s an evocative copper necklace by Gloria Martinez Lopez, “Restless Spine,” and a fine little oil still life by Gwenn Knapp titled “Garlic and Yarn.”
Denise Carter’s “Bold Flavor,” a technically dazzling still life of a teacup, creamer and sugar bowl – with a sinister extra ingredient – is another standout.
Among the sculptures, Stan Smokler’s “Evolution” is a confrontational sort of coiled metal vine that suddenly bursts out with red-tipped spikes. Lisa Fedon’s tall sculptures, “Child Separation” and “Asylum Seekers” are powerful, poignant and resonant, whispering their dark secrets as you study them.
The Fifth Annual National Juried Exhibition continues at the Oxford Arts Alliance (39 S. Third St., Oxford) through Nov. 8. Gallery hours are Tuesday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Visit www.oxfordart.org.To contact Staff Writer John Chambless, email [email protected].